Robert Davis

Page last modified 19 October 2000
On this page:

- Updating the Amiga Operating System

- Amiga 500 expansion power

- Multiple Internet Service Providers

- Amiga keyboard repair

- Modifying the Xetec SCSI host adapter

- Amiga parallel port vs. the clone port

- The 68010 Amiga Speed UP

On other pages:

- More hints, A2000, A500, IBrowse, ZIP drives. floppy drives

- Even more hints, about Internet security and the Amiga.

- Amiga and modem connections

- Back to my home page.

- Stupid advertisements

Another system, Tom-D-Tek's Amiga Hacks with his hacks and links to other such pages exists in Texas.

Some important stuff:

Even before you examine these hints, be aware that you alone are responsible for any troubles with or any damage done to your computer which may occur when you make the modifications detailed below.

Also, many of the items in these AmigaHints files require knowledgeable use of a VOM (volt-ohmmeter) and a soldering iron. If you are not capable of modifying electronic equipment, it would be wise for you to consult someone who is.

There are no complicated graphics on this page. It is mostly ASCII, so that even those with just a text based browser will have no difficulty reading this information.

Updating the Amiga OS beyond version 3.1:

Next item: Modifying the A500 expansion port for MORE POWER.

In late 1999, the long-promised update to the Amiga operating system became available. The author of this page is using Amiga OS 3.5 on the A3000 used to prepare this page. But you must have at least a 68020 cpu for OS 3.5 to work. My A500 has only a 68010, so that machine still runs Amiga OS 3.1.
For those of us with less powerful Amigas, here are some programs and updates which will improve the operation of your Amiga OS 3.1 system.

Official stuff from Amiga International
for Amiga OS 3.1

Here are files which were formerly available on the German Amiga web site.


SetPatch is used by the Amiga operating system to fix problems and update functions
in the Kickstart ROM.


The official update to the FastFileSystem, this FFS allows larger partitions than two
gigabytes, and larger hard drives than four gigabytes, the limitations found in the
FFS in Kickstart on all Amigss. There are bugfixes, too.


For users of Amigas with OS 3.1, here is a patch for scsi.device, especially for larger partitions,
with bugfixes, better handling of other IDE devices. There are versions of the patch for various
Amigas, for both SCSI and IDE systems.

Use * as a wildcard

Amiga OS can use * (asterisk) as a wildcard, but that feature is not turned on in standard configurations. Here is a very small program to activate it. I don't know the author, but he receives my thanks. The program is only 88 bytes. Put it in your sys:c directory, and call it one time to turn on the * wildcard, call it again to toggle the * wildcard off.
Shift-click here to download the wildstar program.

On the Aminet archives


fblit is intended (primarily) for owners of AGA Amigas who want to speed up the graphics operations on their machines. Read the doc files first. The program probably does no good for owners of graphics cards, but it seems to work on and even speed up graphics display on my ECS A3000.


Here is a patch for older versions of the FastFileSystem (and for the info command), which will allow hard disks of greater than four gigabytes to work properly with the Amiga file system. Partitions are still limited to two gigabytes, and before you install td64, you should read the readme.txt file to determine just how your Amiga and SCSI host adapter will work with the patch.


A different patch from td64, this one requires configuration by the end user, and is therefore probably somewhat harder to set up. While of interest to anyone who wants to use a large hard drive, NSDPatch (New Style Device) also can patch many other devices, such as parallel, printer and serial. Read the readme.first file and follow the instructions.


This version of the Installer program is required to install some newer software.


You should looks through the aminet util/libs directory for other updates to particular software on your Amiga.
Note that a fake datatypes library with the version either reported as 45.4 or 45.5 was distributed for a while on aminet. That version contains a trojan program which will steal your internet account login and password information from your system. See the information posted by Holger Kruse on his website, or read the text of the announcement on another AmigaHints page here. You really do need the bugfixes and increased capability of datatypes.library.


Several replacements for serial.device are in this directory.
Another possibility is New8n1.lha. I prefer ArtSer.device because it attempts nothing
fancy, and is just a bugfixed version of the original Commodore serial.device.


This replacement for printer.device allows use of multiple printers,
printers on a network, and printing to a file.


This replacement for the format program even comes with source code. The author writes that he wrote this version after he purchased a 6.4 gigabyte hard drive, and found that the original Amiga OS format program would not handle drives larger than 4 gigabytes. The program requires the FFS and SCSI_IDE updates mentioned earlier on this page.


In the text/print directory you can find lots of printer drivers. The list of drivers
supplied with Amiga OS 3.1 is rather aged, and the list shown here is just some of the
more recent uploads as of the date of this page.

Drivers for Canon Laser and BubbleJet Printers

Canon Australia officially supports the Amiga with large files containing drivers for many
different models of Canon printers.

For a rather complete list of popular printer drivers you should
look at the page referenced in the line above.

Good Stuff if you have at least a 68020 CPU


From the author's doc file:
This set of libraries is a replacement for the original libraries by
Commodore. They are written in highly optimized assembler code using
the 68881/68882 FPU chips and the 68040 FPU directly without any
emulation or compatibility overhead. So they are much faster, much
smaller, and still 100% compatible. (Martin Berndt)


A program that patches some functions of the mathffp.library
to use 68881/2 instructions, thus squeezing out a bit more speed.
(Requires FMath406)

The Enforcer program

should be used by anyone developing Amiga software. (You must have at least a 68020 and MMU.)
Michael Sinz was an engineer for Commodore and continues to develop Enforcer for the Amiga community.
He even lets you read the source code on his web page.

And if you have a 68040 or 68060


Stuff from Phase 5, including 68060.library and a new 68040.library. The latter seems
to work very well on my CBM A3640 board, giving it a small speed increase over the
Commodore-supplied library.


Which should allow you to move the KickStart ROM into your fast RAM.
Access to the RAM is much faster than access to the ROM. (RAM can deliver the data to the CPU faster).
Read the associated text file to see if it might speed up your 68040 or 68060 Amiga.

As always, I advise you to read and follow the instructions included with each program
and file listed here. I know you won't do it, but my conscience urges me to include that sentence.

If you have suggestions or additions to this list, my e-mail address is all over this page.

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Amiga 500 expansion power:

Next item: Amiga keyboard repair.

The Amiga 500 can supply power to devices plugged into the 86-pin expansion port through the port on the left side of the computer. Pins 5 and 6 deliver +5 volts, pin 8 delivers -12 volts, pin 10 delivers +12 volts and pins 1,2,3,4 are the ground return.

The 5-volt line is most important. The A500 can deliver only a fraction of an ampere before the voltage drop through the Radio Frequency Interference filter (EMI1702) causes problems for the RAM expansion, SCSI hard drive adapter, or whatever is drawing power from the expansion connector.

The solution is to add a jumper wire to bypass the EMI device. This may cause problems with interference to nearby television or radio reception. If it does, it is your fault, and you will have to undo the modification to your A500.

To add the jumper, you will have to remove the top of the plastic case on your A500, and then remove some or all of the interior shielding to get to the component parts on the motherboard. If you don't know how to do that, leave the work to someone who does.

Then, the quick fix is to add a short jumper wire connecting the two outer pins on EMI1702, next to the 86-pin expansion connector. The better fix is to add a jumper wire from the plated through hole connected to pins 5 and 6 on the expansion bus and connect the other end of the wire to a point on the 5-volt bus inside the computer. You can use your voltmeter to find an appropriate point for the connection, perhaps near the square DIN power supply connector. then you put the shield back in place, and reassemble the A500 plastic case.

In my case the modification made the difference between my external 8-meg RAM expansion working or not. The voltage to the RAM was just too low at about 4.6 volts until I made the mod. With the jumper in place the voltage increased to 4.8 volts, and the RAM expansion works.

As stated above, I will take no responsibility for any problems or troubles caused by your modification to your computer.

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Amiga keyboard repair

Next item: modify the Xetec SCSI adapter.

When your Amiga keyboard refuses to recognize keypresses, you may solve the problem by cleaning its interior connections. Amiga (and older Commodore) keyboards are quite simple. A printed circuit board has two open connections for each key. When you press a key, a conductive foam pad is pressed against the two metal pads on the printed circuit board.

The pc board is held against the key matrix by many tiny Phillips head screws. Don't lose any of those screws. Once you have the keyboard apart, clean the pc board with fresh running water and carefully dry it with a lint free cloth -- avoid paper towels.

If you have a particular key or keys giving you problems, examine the face of the conductive pads. If they are shiny, you may gently roughen them with a fine file, such as a nail file. Press on the key in question to force the pad up and into your reach.

It is possible to use the conductive pads from older (Vic-20, C-64) keyboards to replace the defective pads in your Amiga keyboard. You may have to trim the older pads to fit, and you may have to use other clever methods of fitting the pads into the Amiga keys, but I have done it, and you can if you think about it.

Then reassemble the keyboard, taking care not to over-tighten the many small screws. As always, if you have any problems or difficulties, they are your fault and I am not responsible for what you do to your computer.

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Modifying the Xetec SCSI host adapter

Next item: Amiga vs. clone parallel ports.

Many Amiga owners have purchased the IOmega ZIP removeable media drive. And those with Xetec SCSI controllers have often not been able to get the ZIP drives to work. A couple of modifications to the Xetec card may fix the problem.

My first exposure to the ZIP drive was on an A2000, where the Xetec host adapter card did not communicate with the ZIP until "termination power" was applied via pin 25 on the Xetec card. Apparently, the ZIP drive does not have the option of internally applying the +5 volt pullup to its internal termination resistors.

An even larger disclaimer here ... I have only one Xetec SCSI card, a Xetec FastCard, which may not be identical to the one you have. The modifications described here worked OK on my FastCard.

Look at the solder side of the card, and see the connections for the 25-pin SCSI connector at the rear of the card. The pins are numbered like this:

----------------------------------------- (rear bracket)

-- 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 -- (solder side of pc board)

-13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01--

On the solder side of the FastCard, a ground trace runs in a circle around the connections for the 25-pin D-Sub connector. The first mod is to run a short wire from pin 24 to that ground bus. On my board, that wire is less than 5mm long.

The second mod is to hook up +5 volts to pin 25. You could just run a wire from pin 25 to +5 volts, but the proper way is to connect the power through a protective diode. The Amiga 3000 uses a type 1N914, but most any physically small silicon diode will work. Attach the banded end of the diode to pin 25 of the D-Sub connector, and the other end of the diode to +5 volts. Pins 5 and 6 of the FastCard bring +5 volts onto the board, and you can follow the traces from there. One convenient location for +5 volts is pin one of either of the termination resistors adjacent to the 5380 SCSI integrated circuit. Pin one of each of the resistors is marked with a square trace around the pin, and all three resistors have pin one connected together.

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The Amiga parallel port vs. the clone port

Next Item: Replacing the 68000 with a 68010
Much discussion in Usenet newsgroups concerns the reasons for a lack of drivers
for parallel port tape drives, and parallel port ZIP drives ... common on the
clone computers, non-existant on the Amiga.

Have a look at the information below. Reference Amiga 500 / Amiga 2000 Technical Reference manual, page 4.

Amiga Parallel Port (except A1000) and clone pin assignments

pin 1STROBE*same
pin 2data bit 0same
pin 3data bit 1same
pin 4data bit 2same
pin 5data bit 3same
pin 6data bit 4same
pin 7data bit 5same
pin 8data bit 6same
pin 9data bit 7same
pin 10ACK*same
pin 11BUSYsame
pin 12POUTsame
pin 13SELsame
pin 14+5 volt pullupAUTOFDXT*
pin 15groundERROR*
pin 16groundINIT*
pin 17groundSLCT IN*
pins 18-23groundsame
pin 24no connectionground
pin 25Reset*ground
The clone parallel port has four programmable lines which are not programmable on the Amiga. The Amiga has one programmable line which is not available on the clone port.

The clone port simply has more programming options than does the Amiga port. It is not likely that anyone will be able to make a cheap clone parallel port tape drive work on the Amiga.

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Replacing the 68000 in older Amigas with the 68010

Next Item: Multiple ISPs with amitcp/ip
This article appeared first (in slightly different form) in Amiga Report issue 402.

Every few weeks, a series of exchanges about using the 68010 CPU appears in the comp.sys.amiga.hardware newsgroup. A somewhat related discussion reappears whenever someone asks if putting a higher speed 68000 in an older Amiga will speed up the computer.

First, just putting a 68000 rated at a higher speed will do nothing. The speed of the CPU is not determined by what is printed on the chip. The speed is determined by the computer timing device, its "clock" which is separate from the CPU.

So putting a 10mhz 68000 in an Amiga means the Amiga won't run any faster than with an 8mhz 68000. Think of it like this: Which is faster? A Yugo travelling at 55 miles per hour, or a Ferrari travelling at 55 miles per hour? Just because you can go faster does not mean you are going faster.

Now there are hacks on Aminet which do change the clock speed of the Amiga to speed up the CPU while keeping the necessary parts of the computer at the necessary, slower speed. Some commercial accelerators have used the same principle. AdSpeed and Supra units come to mind. If you want to construct one of the hacks, be my guest, and good luck.

Now about the 68010. That IC does exactly replace the 68000 in its socket in any older Amiga. And, that IC does execute some instructions faster than does the 68000. Some small loops and all of the more complicated math instructions are faster on the '010 than on its older sibling. Therefore the 68010 will run programs which use those particular instructions faster than the 68000 will run the same programs. But the speed up is not very great. My own tests on an A500 indicate ray tracing with Imagine is about five per cent (5%) faster on the '010.

Many respondents to news postings caution potention users of the 68010 to get the old program DECIGEL which will fix a problem with one instruction on the 68000 which is not handled in the same manner on the 68010. They tell everyone that some of their software will crash without decigel.

That is garbage.

The particular MOVE instruction which messes up on the 68010 but not on the 68000 will also crash any computer using a 68020, 68030, 68040 or 68060 cpu. And all programmers have been aware of that instruction and its problems since the mid-1980s. More specifically, writers of compilers have made sure their code generating software did not use that instruction as it was defined on the 68000. It has been literally years since any new software for the Amiga suffered from the MOVE SR,Destination bug in the 68000.

So, the conclusion. If you want a small speed increase for your older Amiga (A1000, A500, A2000) changing to a 68010 cpu will do it. Since the speed up is small, it will likely be economical only if you get the cpu chip free or for a very low price, and if you are able to do the installation yourself, without paying someone else to do the work.

I have 68010 cpus in both my A500 and my A2000. I paid $5.00 for four of the '010 cpu ICs at an Amateur Radio swap meet. For a cost of $1.25 per cpu, it was worth it for a five per cent speed up.

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Calling more than one Internet Service Provider

For the month of April, 1996, I am comparing the Internet Service Providers of Emporia, Kansas. My plan is to choose the best of the three and drop my accounts on the other two.

So I have to make my Amiga, running AmiTCP 4 and ppp 1.45 alternately connect to the ISPs, which we shall refer to as C, V, and S ... because their real names don't matter.

I had been starting my Internet connection by typing internet from a shell. That script (sys:s/internet) looks like this:

.bra {
.ket }
.key param
; Installed with iNTERiNSTALL 1.51
path >nil: amitcp:bin add
run >nil: execute >NIL: amitcp:bin/startinternet {param}

The startinternet script reads the ppp0.config file (env:sana2/ppp0.config) which tells the program to use the ppp.dial script (env:sana2/ppp.dial) to actually call the Internet Service Provider.

So to call multiple ISPs, I created a separate ppp.dial script for each one. Those files are stored on my hard drive as:


In these files, the telephone number of the ISP, username, and password are different for each script. Of course, other differences may exist in the logon procedures. Those differences may require additions or other changes to the scripts. Every ISP is different from all the others.

Then, instead of one sys:s/internet script, I created three different scripts:


Here is the callV script:

.bra {
.ket }
.key param
; Installed with iNTERiNSTALL 1.51
path >nil: amitcp:bin add
copy envarc:sana2/Vppp.dial envarc:sana2/ppp.dial
copy env:sana2/Vppp.dial env:sana2/ppp.dial
run >nil: execute >NIL: amitcp:bin/startinternet {param}

And that script copies the appropriate ppp.dial script to the necessary directories on both the hard drive and the ram disk before calling the rest of the procedures which accomplish the connection to the Internet. Except for the first letter of the filename to copy from, the other two scripts are identical to this one.

So instead of typing internet to start my internet connection, I type either callv callc or calls and my Amiga calls the Internet Service Provider of my choice.

If you normally click on an icon to start your Internet connection, you will have to create separate icons for each ISP, and probably use xicon to execute the scripts. I shall leave that as an exercise for the reader.
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